Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Heart of the city

So I was reading "DOs and DON'Ts: 10 Years of Vice Magazine's Street Fashion Critiques" because I'm a pretentious dickbag, and I saw a DO that inspired me to make this blog post. The picture is a couple, the girl holding a bottle of Yuengling, the guy wearing a Phillies t-shirt. The caption is "Philadelphia license plates should say, 'Home of the great friends.' Everyone there is so over it you feel like a dick for ever having a problem."

It's so true! So here it is, some things that I love about this wondrous city that I've been living in for the past five years.

This is the view from my house

- We have great passion about our sports teams. True, there are many cities that do, and this in and of itself is nothing special. But in Philly, fans are just as likely to boo athletes that play for a Philly team. No grace period, no undeserved accolades, no cushy hero status without earning it. And athletes have to continually prove themselves here. And I like that: that sense of being real.

- We have great bars. Again, every city has great bars, but I haven't experienced so many in such close proximity, and in the actual "downtown" area. Within a few blocks of Center City, there are at least a half dozen great, cheap, chill bars with excellent food and terrific jukeboxes. Plus, you can find bars that are just as good in a ton of the other areas of the city. (Yeaaa Doobies, Sidecar, Fiume, Sugar Mom!)

- It's cheap as all hell for an east coast city. I live 15 minutes - walking - from the heart of downtown, City Hall. And my total rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is what some people pay individually in NYC or Boston, or even some upscale parts of other cities. And our food and drinks are cheap, too.

- Yuengling lager on draft. One of the finest beers I've ever tasted, and you can find a bunch of places downtown that sell pitchers of this ambrosia for 7 or 8 bux. Also, the city wide special - a shot of Jim Beam and a can of PBR for 3 bux. I dare you to get absolutely shithoused for 12 bux in any other city.

- Philly is super integrated. The only other city I've been to that even comes close to this level of integration is New York, but I feel like there are definitely giant swaths of the city (ahemmidtownahem) where you can walk and encounter nary a minority or anything out of the ordinary. That's boring and racist. In Philly, there are a lot of different ethnic groups represented, but their neighborhoods are totally non-exclusive. Except Fairmont. Stupid white folks...

- Philly has some of the worst neighborhoods I've ever seen. The rundown neighborhoods are really, really bad. I won't say they're some of the worst in the country, because I haven't seen many. But they're bad and that gives the city some grit in its teeth, some gravel in it throat and some swagger in its street cred step. Plus, we have Camden, NJ (aka Murder City) right across the river.

- Philly has some of the best neighborhoods I've ever seen. G-ho, Fishtown, Spruce Hill (and most of West Philly around Clark Park), Queen Village, Italian Market, Passyunk Square - I'd live in any of these places in a second. As a G-ho resident, I'm a little biased and think this neighborhood's the best, though.

- People from Philly will give it to you straight. We won't dick you around, we won't play mind games, we won't drink your beer and not tell you that we did. Example: I was at my favorite thrift store in South Philly, and some guy just leaned out his window and said, "Man! You are one ugly motherfucker!" and then drove off. See! No mincing words there!

- We have a great climate. It doesn't get THAT warm in the summer (a little humid, it's true), and we don't get a ton of snow or bitter, cold days during the winter. And we have beautiful, amazing in-between seasons that last several weeks, and gently ease us from season to season. There is excellent sweater-and-shorts weather here, and that makes me smile every spring and fall.

- The Philly Taco. A Jim's cheesesteak wrapped in a slice of Lorenzo's pizza. If they serve food in heaven, it's probably hors d-oeuvres based on the Philly Taco.

- We have great indie movie theaters right downtown. Three of em. Wanna go see that new Wes Anderson movie, and it's not playing at Regal? Go to the Ritz, a short jaunt away on your bike (in our bike-friendly streets!).

- We have a vibrant college community. We have two giant colleges (Penn and Temple) within the city limits, and three small ones (La Salle, Drexel, U Arts) that add a lot of flavor, too. And grads (like me!) are starting to stick around and do a lot for the city. Also, there aren't so many that we have awful student ghettos like Allston or Boulder.

- If John Racine moved here and brought JJ Foley's with him, and put JJ Foley's 3 blocks from my house, this would be the greatest city in the history of the universe.

- Philly really is the home of the great friends. Some of my favorite people in the history of the world have been from here, or at least resided here for an extended period of time.

Of course, I could make a list of things that drive me crazy about this city (the accent, SEPTA), but that would be boring and not cool. So, everyone come to Philly now!


At 11:42 PM, Blogger Courtney said...

I totally agree. It's the best city ever. What's a JJ Foley's? And you need to come see my new apartment. And I want to meet Steve.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

I really like how this post talks a lot about Santa Barbara

At 2:17 AM, Blogger j. leo said...

It was nice being back. I even missed it a little, until the 95% humidity kicked in and I had swamp ass the whole week.

If I could surround myself with a portable air-conditiong unit at all times, though, I would totally get an apartment near you (and Paul and oh, I don't know, 99.99 % ofeveryone else I regualrly talk to). And some sort of hovercraft I could take on the subway. That would be rad. Until then, I will have to make do in California, which can actually be a nice environment for lazy people.


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